As the leader of a U.S.-based bank with a distinctly global footprint and focus, I spend a fair amount of my time traveling around the world, meeting with clients, customers and colleagues in the more than 100 countries where we open our doors every morning.
Having done that on a regular basis for years I think I'm on pretty safe ground when I say that the world doesn't seem likely to get any less global, uncertain, unpredictable or challenging.
This expectation only underscores our commitment to take our mission one that we explicitly reaffirmed and clarified over the course of the past year seriously. That mission is: to responsibly provide financial services that enable growth and progress.
Whether that means enabling growth and progress through our core business activities, forging partnerships with organizations that align with our values, or providing philanthropic support through the Citi Foundation, my more than 200,000 colleagues and I work to fulfill that mission faithfully every day.
Yet, we also humbly recognize that we don't have all (or even many) solutions to some of society's more daunting challenges at our fingertips. What we can do, however, and where we focus our energy, talent and best thinking, is helping our clients and customers navigate and manage through many of these issues, which often helps society move forward.
Where we see places where we are confident that we can meaningfully contribute, we do and we will. With an understanding of the priorities and concerns of our clients, partners and people, we focus on the following issues where we engage in both breadth and depth.
Culture, Conduct and Governance:
We lead with these because they are fundamental to our success. If we don't get these issues right, nothing else matters -- at risk is the credibility needed to fulfill our mission and our license to do business.
Today's world is so inextricably interconnected that global companies like ours do and must continue to play an influential role in determining how responsibly business is conducted in the countries and communities where we operate.
We say (and we mean it) that "city" is not just in our name, it's in our DNA. For more than 200 years we have contributed to building the economic strength of cities. We've worked to preserve the historically pivotal role of urban centers as places of progress and opportunity for the millions of people who live in and move to them every day in search of better lives for themselves and their families.
Safeguarding our clients' and customers' critical assets and information while holding ourselves to the highest ethical standards in all our decision-making is key to preserving deeper client relationships. We continue to invest in the training and tools required to live up to not just the letter but the spirit of every law, statute and regulation we follow.
Market activity and global convenings such as COP21 are accelerating the risks and opportunities embedded in environmentally sustainable business. Due to the strength of environmental finance markets and the ambitions of our clients, our financing of solutions to reduce the impact of climate change has skyrocketed. After announcing our Sustainable Progress Strategy, including a commitment to lend, invest and facilitate $100 billion over ten years to activities focused on environmental solutions, we recorded our highest annual volume of sustainable finance activity in 2015, with $47.6 billion in transactions.
Achieving our aspiration of being the world's most admired bank starts with and ends with us our people. We remain committed to bringing out the best in ourselves, our peers and our teams.
Maintaining, cultivating, and preserving a diverse and inclusive culture is paramount for us. We know that diversity of thought, backgrounds and perspectives produce better outcomes for our clients and customers.
Few concepts are as fundamental to the advancement of a fairer, more just society than to respect, promote and protect human rights across our value chain. Our policies are inviolable and the basis of an enduring commitment to uphold and respect the rights of all our employees, suppliers, clients, customers, communities and countries wherever we do business.
I offer these demonstrations and proof points as tangible evidence in support of our thesis that global institutions like ours are uniquely positioned to help society address global problems on a global scale.
And none of the negative political discourse, rancor or rhetoric about the need to "break up the big banks" will deter us from continuing to do what we do every day in fulfillment of our mission to enable growth and progress around the world.
If anything, it only reinforces that commitment while helping us to appreciate the fact that, despite signs of progress, our work is never done.
Michael L. Corbat
Chief Executive Officer,